George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General William Maxwell, 27 March 1779

From Brigadier General William Maxwell

Elizth Town [N.J.] 27th March 1779


I have got a large asortment of papers from New York so late down as Thursday.1

The Enemy is pluming themselves much upon a Victory obtained over our Troops in Georgia on the 4th March. Notwithstanding I have my fears about the Matter I hope the information may prove to be false, the acct is not sufficiently authenticated in my opi⟨nion⟩ from any of their Officers. Should our Troops suffer themselves to be serounded a second time in their own country it will look a little extra ordinary.2 I have no other news than what is in the papers. I am Your Excellencys Most Humble Servant

Wm Maxwell

N.B. they say Martinque is attacted.3


1Maxwell wrote “Thursday,” which was 25 March, above the line after striking out the word “yesterday.” The enclosed newspapers from New York have not been identified, but the one dated 25 March almost certainly was an issue of the Royal American Gazette (New York).

2At Briar Creek, Ga., on 3 March, Lt. Col. James Marcus Prevost with a combined force of about 900 British regulars and Loyalists completed a 50-mile march to surprise a camp of approximately 1,400 North Carolina militia, 200 mounted Georgia militia, and 100 Georgia Continentals under the command of Brig. Gen. John Ashe. The late-afternoon attack completely scattered the Americans, who lost over 150 killed or drowned and had a comparable number taken prisoner, while British casualties totaled only 5 killed and 11 wounded (see Augustine Prevost to George Germain, 5 March, in Davies, Documents of the American Revolution description begins K. G. Davies, ed. Documents of the American Revolution, 1770–1783; (Colonial Office Series). 21 vols. Shannon and Dublin, 1972–81. description ends , 17:76–79; and Baurmeister, Revolution in America description begins Carl Leopold Baurmeister. Revolution in America: Confidential Letters and Journals, 1776–1784, of Adjutant General Major Baurmeister of the Hessian Forces. Translated and annotated by Bernhard A. Uhlendorf. New Brunswick, N.J., 1957. description ends , 261–62).

3A British fleet, then attempting to blockade French-held Martinique in the West Indies, never mounted an actual attack on the island. For an example of a newspaper report that gave rise to this erroneous belief, see the New-York Gazette: and the Weekly Mercury, 22 March.

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